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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone,

I am new to owning a puppy and she is a 4.5 month old Mini American Eskimo.

I am curious, how do you know when your dog has an ear infection?
Once in awhile my dog will cock her head to the side and her ear will be lopsided when they are normally pointed up. She sometimes then itchs her ear with her hind leg.
She has itchy eyes from eye goop sometimes and paws at them... but tonight I saw her pawing further back past both ears and earlier her head was cocked with floppy ear.

My reasoning tells me if it were an infection, it wouldn't be so intermittent andthatbshe would have secondary symptoms. She is happy, full of energy and eating as normal.

Would love some advice on spotting the subtle differences. Thanks so much!
 

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Have you cleaned her ears recently? If not, it might just be something like mites, or something else irritating her ears. If you haven't had her ears cleaned, try that? I've never dealt with an ear infection but if it IS an infection, it might have a foul odor coming from it, or discharge.
 

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Does it look like there are little black specks like dirt inside? It could be a yeast infection (very easily treated) or mites. And it would have a bit of a smell to it if it were infected.
 

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In my experience, there will be a bit of a smell, some waxy build up, and the inside of the ear will look more red than normal (or more red than the other ear). I've never noticed other symptoms outside of itching the ear (energy and appetite were fine).

Ears can often flop around during teething time, and she's right in the middle of that, so it could be the cause of her ear being lopsided.
 

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Dogs I've known with ear infections are pretty intense about rubbing or scratching their ears, and it smells bad, and sometimes you can see discharge.
 

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I recommend a vet visit if you suspect infected ears. They can progress very quickly and, left untreated, damage the dogs hearing permanently.


These are pictures I took of my dogs ears a few years ago during an infection. His ears were 100% normal a week before...due to his food allergies I check his ears often. This is the result of yeast and bacteria invading the ear. He was super itchy if touched, but not paying any more attention to scratching his ears than usual. He never indicated any pain...not unusual for him, he's a very stoic dog and it has to REALLY hurt before he'll give any indication of discomfort.



 

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Twenty five years ago, my very first dog had an ear infection; no discharge but he kept shaking his head. One of my current dogs has a gross brown discharge and the inside of the ear gets very red. Luckily, after changing food, it's only happened once.
 

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Summarizing what people said:
1. I believe there are 3 types of infection: Mites, Yeast, and bacteria
2. Mites are little pests that are location specific - ask your Vet about these.
3. Yeast results in a yeasty smell in the ears, and makes the ears very itchy.
4. Bacteria results in a pungent smell.

I believe that in all cases, the inside of the dog's ear (one or both can be infected) will go from healthy pink to dirty to red/inflamed. In my dog, his outer ears get noticeably thicker from the swelling. The dog may tilt his head, shake his ears, pick at the inside of his ears, or scratch hard. You may also notice that other dogs sniff and lick the dog's ears.

There are lots of ways to get infections:
1. A bath or swimming, and the ear stays wet.
2. A bath, and the ear is cleaned to roughly, causing drying out and irritation.
3. A dog with allergies can have an immune system problem ("Allergies!") that can upset the balance of flora in the ear.
4. A sinus infection can also result in ear problems.
5. ... the dog just picks up an infection.

There are various treatments you can use to wash a dog's ears to prevent infection, but if you see an infection, I recommend going to the Vet for treatment. You'll get different meds to put into the dog's ear, depending on the infection. Treatment is roughly 5 - 10 days. Make a point of asking the Vet to take at least 5 minutes to show you how to apply the meds... then give the dog a small treat.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Thanks for the replies everyone, very useful info here. I checked her ears and they are clean, light pink, and today she is no longer pawing at her ears. My boyfriend thinks it may have been her cleaning/pawing at some stuff in the eye but her paw was reaching all the way past her ear. Sometimes it is difficult to tell if it is the eye or ear bothering them, with similar actions.

However, I wanted to consider all possibilities in the off chance it was something like an ear infection.

I will try to be more careful not to let any water enter her ear when she gets a bath... I overlooked this as a potential risk for infection, so thanks to the poster who noted this.

Thanks also to the person posting the photos... I will bookmark this as a future reference :)
 
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